The Rays celebrate the biggest win in their franchise history, and perhaps the most exciting finish to a game in World Series history. Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip | AP
In one of the most stunning endings to a game in World Series history, Tampa Bay Rays fielding substitution Brett Phillips delivered a two-out single that somehow scored two runs to give the Rays an 8-7 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to tie the series at two.
Game 4 of the 2020 World Series will be a game shown in off-season replays for years to come, with the walk-off for the Rays being just the fifth walk-off due to an error in World Series history. But before we get to the exhilarating final play, it’s time to see how we got there. And oh boy, was that enough to make it a classic!
The game started just how Game 3 had, with a two-out solo home run for Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner to grab a 1-0 lead.
That lead was doubled in the top of the third inning with a solo home run from shortstop Corey Seager, continuing the dominant hitting of the two infielders in the World Series – and the playoffs in general.
It looked as if the Dodgers would chip away at the Rays to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, but a fourth inning solo home run for Rays designated hitter Randy Arozarena – his ninth home run of the postseason, an MLB record – cut the deficit to 2-1.
The most homers EVER in a postseason pic.twitter.com/LlKpoLJLYf
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 25, 2020
The next inning, the Dodgers pushed the lead back to two with a two-out RBI single from first baseman Max Muncy. That lead was once again cut to one with another solo home run, this time for Rays right fielder Hunter Renfroe.
With the Dodgers leading 3-2 in the sixth, pinch hitter Kike Hernandez delivered another two-out RBI on a double to score catcher Will Smith to push the lead back to two. As the Dodgers continued to score each time after the Rays, it seemed they would keep the game just out of reach.
However, the bottom half of the sixth inning changed things, when previously-struggling Rays second baseman hit his third home run of the World Series, this one a three-run shot to left-center field to give the Rays a 5-4 lead.
Once again, the Dodgers responded with a two-out single by pinch hitter Joc Pederson that just got past the outstretched glove of Lowe, scoring two runs before right fielder Cody Bellinger was caught between second and third.
The Dodgers once again held the lead, but not for long, as long-time Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier delivered an absolute bomb of a solo home run to right field, tying the game at 6.
The tie game didn’t last for long either, as Seager added another two-out RBI on a bloop hit to short left-center field to score outfielder Chris Taylor and give the Dodgers a 7-6 lead in the eighth inning.
Neither team scored in their next at-bats, so the game headed to the bottom of the ninth, the Rays trailing by one.
Pinch hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo struck out, Kiermaier delivered a single, pinch runner – seventh inning, replacing Yandy Diaz – Joey Wendle lined out to deep left-center field (nearly getting into the gap over Pederson’s glove), and a walk for Arozarena, setting the stage for a career-making at-bat for pinch hitter Brett Phillips to close out an instant classic.
Down to their last strike (1-2 count), Phillips delivered a swooping line drive to right-center field. Once in the outfield, Kiermaier was already rounding third, but a bobble by Taylor allowed Arozarena to follow Kiermaier to head towards home plate for the winning run.
However, while halfway to home plate, Arozarena tripped and somersaulted over, appearing to send the game into extra innings once the relay throw reached the Dodgers catcher Smith. But Smith dropped the ball, which bounced towards the Dodgers’ dugout, and Arozarena slid head-first into home to give the Rays an astounding 8-7 win.
— MLB (@MLB) October 25, 2020
With the series now tied at 2, both teams turn to their aces in Sunday night’s Game 5. Tyler Glasnow struggled for the Rays in Game 1, allowing 6 earned runs, but will look to execute much better against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.